Friday, October 12, 2012

Letter Sisters

The week flew by. One kindergartner after another astonishes me with how much they've learned since the beginning of the year. Everyday something delightful happens. I keep bringing forward the reading and math lessons that I usually teach later in the year because this class just seems to be ready for more. It's fun for me.

Today didn't start out as if it would be a great day. I learned that Mrs. Everson would not be in due to her daughter's being down with one of the bugs going around. But Jennifer Toguchi and Rachael Zell stayed all day to stand in for Mrs. Everson, so we had plenty of hands on deck. We made little drawings that would be included in a thank you book to Mark Sell from Sebastopol Hardware for providing us the apple press free of charge. Some of the children learned how to put a highlight on an apple by leaving a little rectangle uncolored.

The day unfolded according to our constantly revised scheduler here:

We went off on a discussion about how the letters have some family connections. Specifically, there are a bunch of sister pairs:

T & D, 
S & Z, 
K & G, 
P & B, 
F & V, and two we didn't talk about
J & CH, and
 the twins, TH (from with) & TH (from them).

The older and quieter (unvoiced) sisters are listed first in these pairings. Notice that when you say these pairs of sounds the mouth stays in the same place and the only difference is you add voice to the second member of the duo.

In math we've been working on tallying and telling time this week.

We tallied more than 126 flies this week and two bees. (For readers who live some distance from here, our school is a little ways out in the country—pasturelands north of Petaluma, California with dairies and dumps not too far away.

In the fall it's a fly paradise outdoors. Indoors, they'd better say their prayers.)

The class voted to tally bees separately, a sensible decision.

At the end of the day, Aidan showed how he knows all of his classmates by first name. For his efforts I put a heart up by his name.

For your calendar, here are a couple of reminders:

I encourage you to attend an evening meeting next week that will be held here at the school.

On Wednesday, October 17 at 6:00 there will be an informational meeting for parents about the Toolbox Program that we employ school-wide here at Dunham Charter School beginning in kindergarten and extending all the way up to sixth grade. Childcare will be provided for this meeting, so.... hey,

We adopted Toolbox last year and have found it to be a very useful program. Some of the parents last year reported that they found ways to use the the Toolbox tools at home too. There is a link to their website, Dovetail Learning on my blog here. I hope you will be able to attend.

There is no school for children on Friday, October 19 which is a staff inservice training day.

Be well.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if any other readers, like myself, just read all the “Sister Sounds” out loud.
I very much enjoyed my morning with you, Jennifer and the children. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day!


Dan Gurney said...


I hope all readers of Mr. Kindergarten are as attentive as you are. I like to think so. That sister sounds lesson you mention just came to me there on the spot as I was teaching it. Lessons like that come when a class is able to listen and ready for instruction. It's that kind of moment that you imagine when you are a student dreaming of what a job in teaching might be like. Truth be told, those moments are fewer and farther between than you imagine as a college kid. But they are as rich, even richer than you imagine them to be. You saw the first appearance of the letter sister lesson in my teaching practice.

But really, I'm the one to be thanking you for being willing to stay and help keep the SS Kindergarten on course and sailing full steam ahead.

Thank you for leaving a comment here Rachael.